Teaching English in Thailand: Day 17, Scary Dogs

Day 17: Friday 10th July

I can't tell you how happy I am that it is Friday! Late last night, two of my fellow ETAs in Thailand and I were organising our weekend trip which took a little longer than expected! We have struggled to think of somewhere to visit this weekend because we are SO FAR away from anything amazing. For example, we are about a 7 hour drive away from Bangkok, 8 hours drive away from Chiang Mai, and uncountable hours away from the southern islands and beaches. All week we changed our minds on where to go several times, and finally we decided to visit a province fairly near to us in the north (about 2.5 hours drive away) called Loei.

Today I had some naughty boys in my class who didn't want to participate in the task. This meant, that for the first time since being here, I had to semi-discipline the kids. I was tired, too, so I didn't even have the energy to smile! After I had split them up, they finally wrote down the one sentence that I asked everyone to complete. After one lesson, this little lad came and asked me for a photo which I found really sweet! I asked him if I could also take one on my phone, so here it is! He is quite hard of hearing, so I think he was a little unconfident speaking aloud with me in the classroom but he did a really good job and I was pretty proud of him. (He wasn't as petrified as he looks!)

*Insert really long Thai student's name here*
Finally, it’s the weekend! After school, we rushed home from school because I was going to meet Kirsty and Jess at the bus station for our weekend adventure. We planned to get the bus at 17:00, but the traffic was so bad in the city that we missed it and had to get the 18:30 bus. We got some food from a street vendor during the wait for the bus, which turned out to be extremely spicy chicken and rice that we could barely eat! In the excitement of all the spice, Kirsty even fell off her stool, causing a scene as I laughed my head off. Before boarding the coach, we paid 3THB to use a disgusting squat toilet in the station. The general consensus was that we all somehow managed to get more pee on our shoes than in the ‘bowl’. 3THB well spent!
What a mess!
We had to get on the bus about 45 minutes before it departed to ensure we had a seat. Thai buses don’t allocate seats, so it’s first come first served! After our little pee shenanigans we returned to the bus and the bus driver had saved us three seats on the coach because we are ‘farangs’ (foreigners), which was nice of him. This meant that many other unlucky people had to stand up in the aisle for 4.5 hours. The journey was less than acceptable, really. There were probably about the same amount of people standing up in the aisle as sitting down, meaning that the coach was really heavy and quite dangerous. We had a lady and her two small children sitting in our footwell for the majority of the journey, meaning that Kirsty and I had to manoeuvre into some tricky positions to fit everyone in!
The "toilet" ^^^
We named the hole in wall above the driver “the toilet’, which many people put their bags in (which we found hilarious). To be quite honest, everything was hilarious. Our seats were falling apart, the driver’s seat was barely there, there were two huge cracks in the windscreen and the rain seeped through the roof, into a nice little pool on the window ledge where I was sat. Because we couldn’t do anything about this dreadful situation, our coping method was to laugh at everything. Hysterically.
Too many passengers!
After the long, stormy 4.5 hour journey that was meant to only last 2.5 hours, we were dropped off in a dark bus station in Loei, North Thailand. We did the usual ‘ring the hotel and ask them to tell the taxi driver where to go’ thing because they can never understand our destination request. We had apparently chosen the party taxi because the young driver was playing some bangin’ tunes including some Pitbull and very fast Spanish pop music. We arrived at the hotel 5 minutes later and checked in at our hotel, ‘Crystal Box’. The hotel is a bit different from most because the rooms are in fact, upcycled metal cargo containers. So the ‘rooms’ were all dotted about over the hotel grounds, amongst the beautiful trees, grassy areas and ponds. Once in our room (at about 23.30), the three of us had the small problem of there only being two single beds in the room. The room was beautiful, well renovated and still very new, however we thought we should find another bed. After calling the 24 hour number and being hung up on 4 times, the (handsome) boyfriend of the young receptionist arrived at our door with what I can only describe as a floor mat and some pillows. We needed some beer to cope with this situation.
Kirsty's 'bed' ft. messy room
We decided to walk 10 minutes in the dark to Tesco Lotus to satisfy our need for beer. Unfortunately for us, lurking in the shadows was the odd stray dog. Even from afar, we were worried about these dogs coming closer to us. I dreamt about being bitten by a rabies- infested dog the other day, so that only made things worse! Every dog down the road (thankfully most were behind gates) clearly hated our presence, and barked like crazy at us three terrified girls. I had never been so happy to see a 24 hour Tesco in my life! We had a bit of a stand off with an angry labradoodle on the way home; thankfully we came out on top.

We chilled outside our box for a while on the patio, somehow not being eaten alive by every bug created. We intended on going to a bar or something similar, but they were all a taxi ride away and it was already late. Besides, we were all pretty knackered! After drinking a few beers and accidentally smashing one on a rock (we had to improvise with an opening tool), Kirsty took one for the team and took the ‘bed’ on the floor, after declining my offer to top and tail in the most comfortable bed ever.

We had an amazing sleep and a wonderful lay in, which was much needed after a stressful week of teaching! You can read about what we did the next day and more about the weekend’s adventures in tomorrow’s post!